Monday, July 11, 2011
by Jenna Black
A Faeriewalker series bonus story
Having a prodigy for an older brother is not so fun…especially one who is magic wiz-kid. But Kimber has a plan to finally step out of his shadow. (description...such as it is...from Amazon.com)
I really enjoy this series. I received the second book to review, but decided to go back and read the first, Glimmerglass before starting Shadowspell. Those books are from the perspective of Dana, a girl who decides to go live with her Fae father and experiences Avalon and the Fae kingdoms for the first time.
This short story is actually from the perspective of a girl she meets in Avalon. Kimber is the younger sister of Ethan, a magically powerful boy that starts pursuing Dana. Kimber actually becomes her best friend and is one of my favorite side characters in the series. I loved reading this story, even short as it was, from her view. I'd love to see more from her someday!
If you've never read any of the Faeriewalker series, I'd suggest you either get a taste with this free ebook or start with Glimmerglass. Hopefully, you'll get as hooked as I am!
So ya'll might remember me blogging once, or twice, or you know...A LOT...about this book that I'm totally stoked for...it's called Bad Taste in Boys. It finally comes out TOMORROW!! To celebrate it's shambling, but still remarkably sparkly release into the wild, author Carrie Harris has come up with a brilliant idea...
THE NIGHT OF THE GIVING DEAD AUCTION!
*click to go to the auction homepage*
There are tons of things up from some fantastic authors that you can go and bid on...no, I won't tell you what I bid on, because honestly, I don't want ya'll scooping my potential goodies right out from under me!! I will say that I am desperate to win one of the Grand Prizes...it's a six month writing mentorship with CARRIE HARRIS!! OMG. *tries to stop hyperventilating*
Go. Check. It. Out.
by Jessica Day George
Dragon Adventures, book three
With peace established between the humans and the dragons, young couple Creel and Luka are planning their wedding. But then the dragon queen, Velika, is kidnapped by a band of rogue dragons in need of a ruler. When Creel and Luka rush to help, they discover that Luka's father has plans to take back the Far Islands from the dragons. Creel's happily ever after just might be postponed . . . again. (description from Amazon.com)
I love this series and this was a great end to the trilogy (at least I think it's the last book). Creel is one of my favorite characters...and I love the relationship she has with Luka. They truly care for each other, flaws and all. Even when Creel continually gets herself into scrapes...and back out of them...poor Luka (he gets so worried sometimes!!) just has to trust that Creel will be okay.
Creel is an awesome heroine. She is smart and brave and loyal. Creel has become friends with dragons and is helping slowly to bring the humans and dragons back together. When the Queen Dragon, Velika, is kidnapped though, right before laying her eggs, Creel, Shardas, Luka, and Creel's brother, Hagen, have to set out after her.
Another great adventure ensues, imbued with questions about discrimination and morality. Many of the characters figure out exactly who they are and what they should be doing. Creel proves once again that she will sacrifice anything for her friends, and that her friends also trust her implicitly.
I love that you finally get to see Creel and Luka get married...not once, but twice!! ...and of course, Shardas and Velika's babies hatching...
Well worth the read if you've read the previous two books, Dragon Slippers and Dragon Flight. If you love adventure, romance, friendship, and dragons...this series is for you.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Thirteenth Chime
by Emma Michaels
A Sense of Time, book one
No one knew of its existence until it was removed from the attic upstairs.
In a beautiful house that overlooks the sea, an antique clock has the power to change the course of their lives.
The power the clock resonates will not only force Destiny and ex-boyfriend David on a journey into the depths of one man's mind long dead, but into the mind of a man filled with hatred and bent on revenge.
With the only clues to the nature of the clock having disappeared into the sea, Destiny and David must retrace the steps the man had taken into the darkness, before they fall prey to the trap he had set in motion over half a century ago. (description from Emma Michael's blog)
The Thirteenth Chime is Emma Michael's debut novel. The writing could be cleaned up some, but hopefully that will change with experience. The storyline, though, was interesting.
When Destiny joins her friend Stephanie at her new house for a short vacation, she's expecting to relax and have a fun time with a good friend. Unfortunately, Stephanie and her mother are attacked the first night and what Destiny has seen haunts her. In a panic, Destiny calls her ex-boyfriend, not her fiance, and has David come out while Stephanie and her mother are in the hospital.
Destiny and David begin investigating and soon tie the attack to the previous owner of the house and a mysterious grandfather clock that looms on the staircase landing. The ghostly aspect of the story was well done and the ties to the old prison on the nearby island were very interesting. I loved the twist with the clock and the suspense of not knowing if everyone would survive. For all that Emma Michael's writing is rough around the edges, she does know how to build suspense and set the mood.
I was somewhat confused, though, why this book was toted as being young adult. With adult characters and a focus on deepening relationships (marriage), I did not really get a young adult feel from this book at all. It is a contemporary paranormal story, but I think it actually should be categorized as an adult book....maybe the series introduces teen characters along the way?
by Jana Oliver
A Demon Trapper's Daughter, bonus story
Before Riley Blackthorne can take on Grade Five demons, she has to trap her very first. Her debut solo trapping experience should be a breeze, just a harmless Grade One after all. But throw in some dippy hippies (whose peace signs and Patchouli really aren’t driving any demons away), one mischievous demon, and a run-in with the police, and Riley might not be able to pull it off... (description from Amazon.com)
I haven't yet had a chance to read The Demon Trapper's Daughter but I will be soon! Riley's snarkiness and the interesting premise of this short story totally drew me right in. I love that there are little Bibliodemons that live to destroy books. Fighting those would be right up my alley. In fact, there is a pretty cool Librarian in this story, which I totally loved. :)
by Carrie Vaughn
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain. (description from Amazon.com)
I'm very conflicted about this book. While I loved the story and characters, I wasn't fond of the writing style itself. I was also left with some major questions unanswered and so felt a little unsatisfied when I finished.
Jill was a very believable heroine. She's tough and trained in swordplay, but she's also thrown into a scary and unbelievable situation, to which she's never quite sure how to act. I loved the blend of her bravado and sheer terror at certain moments.
I really enjoyed reading about Captain Marjory Cooper, a woman that ran her ship based on respect, not fear. It was really interesting to read about the other female pirates, too. I know that there actually were some in history, same as female soldiers before it was allowed, and it was really cool to see how Vaughn showed different types of female pirates and what may have driven them to that life. In fact, all of the pirate lifestyle that was represented was interesting and realistic.
While I loved the time travel aspect of this book, I didn't really understand how it happened or worked. There was sort of an explanation towards the end, but I didn't really feel that it was at all believable or well told. That was one of the things that I really just didn't connect to, and as such a large part of the story, that made it hard to truly love this book.
I felt like there were several things that just didn't click for me on this one. Lots of other readers out there have loved this book, though, so if you like pirates, time travel, romance and adventure, you may still want to give it a shot.
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!
From the Library:
Mixed Messages by Tina Wells
The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
*Thanks to Alex at Electrifying Reviews!
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
*Thanks to Sharon at I Mainline Fiction!
On My Nook:
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Misfit by Jon Skovron
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
*Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for all these great titles!!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
I am pleased to announce that the winner of the Crush Control giveaway (via random drawing at random.org) is...
April, check your email...you have until Wednesday, July 13th to contact me with your mailing address so we can send the book out to you. Congratulations again!
UPDATE: Since April_Layne never contacted me, the NEW winner of the giveaway is KIMBERLY!! You have until Fri., July 15th to email me back with your mailing address.
Friday, July 8, 2011
If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.
What a sweet, sweet topic! Do you love to bake, cook, make candies...or even just drool hearing about others doing it?? If so, check out our recommendations this week. Most of them are, pardon the pun, pretty SWEET!
Just had to share these newly released covers that I absolutely love! The atmospheric smokiness, the vibrant colors, the inherent strength of the girls pictured...
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton (2/14/2012)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (1/3/2012)
Charmfall by Chloe Neill (1/3/2012)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum, book seventeen
(*not counting the in-between novels)
Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.
Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.
With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke. (description from Amazon.com)
OMG. How do I love this series? Let me count the ways!
1. Stephanie is both incompetent and surprisingly good at her job...
4. Lula...her crazy diets, her crazier wardrobe, and her propensity for shooting at suspects
5. Grandma Mazur...who doesn't love a "cute" little old grandma that carries a giant gun in her purse and wreaks havoc at funeral homes for fun?
6. Mooner...stoner extraordinaire
7. Stephanie's love of food...which will overcome the most extreme circumstances!
8. Bulgari body wash (Ummm...and the man who uses it...did I mention him already? Oh I did. Well...*sigh*)
9. Connie...the "connected" woman behind the scenes at the bail bonds office
10. Just to round things out --> RANGER. *omg*
These books make me snarf out loud! Every single time. I love poor Stephanie's propensity for blowing up cars, accidentally catching bad guys, and her understandable trouble choosing between two HOTT guys that want to be with her...
This particular volume caused me to laugh out loud so hard that I cried...within the first 50 pages! It doesn't get better than that. Let's just say that the perps Stephanie has to round up in this book are definitely hilarous (including a senior who thinks he's a vampire). The relationship drama heats up again...and I for one, LOVED it. The best part, though, is how even with all of the guy drama in Stephanie's life, she still knows that her girls mean more...the girlpower ending made me grin!
I was BEYOND excited when I heard that Mary Pearson was writing a sequel, The Fox Inheritance. Needless to say it was one of the top books I was aiming to get at BEA and though I couldn't snag an ARC, I'm definitely planning to read it as soon as it officially comes out! Check out the awesome and intriguing trailer...
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
by Jennifer Jabaley
When Willow Grey was nine, her mom dropped the bomb of ultimate betrayal: they would be moving from their small town in Georgia to glitzy Las Vegas. Willow was devastated to have to leave her best friend, Max, behind. So she decided to take control of the situation: she told Max to relax, to let his eyelids droop and then she said: "Max Montgomery, for as long as we live, you and I will be best friends..."
Now, at seventeen, Willow and her mom move back to their hometown and Willow is determined to pick up where she and Max left off. But even though he's still her best friend, his heart now belongs to someone else—and Willow realizes that what she feels for him is so much more than just friendship. For the second time in her life, Willow finds herself using hypnosis to get what she wants. But what starts off as a harmless experiment soon spirals into chaos and Willow is forced to wonder: Is the heart really something you can control—with mind control? (description from author's website)
I've always been both fascinated and terrified by hypnotism. It's supposed to have helped a lot of people with really serious issues (I'd love a subliminal message somedays that NO, I do not need to eat that cupcake...) but when I think about hypnotism, what usually jumps right into my head first is those shows where people end up making total fools of themselves and I just can't even imagine volunteering to participate in something like that!
Imagine my delight when I started reading Crush Control and I realized that this book actually contains both of those exact types of hypnotism! Willow's mother has run a Vegas hypnotism show for nine years and so when they move back home to Georgia, Willow quickly gets talked into doing a "show" for the kids from school. This insta-hit (with the "funny" style hypnosis where people end up doing stupid things) leads to several of Willow's new friends to help them with various problems through hypnosis.
One of Willow's new friends is Mia, the Queen Bee of their school. Captain of the Cheer Squad, Mia's expected to do more and more intricate stunts. When her fear of heights overwhelms her, she turns to Willow for help. Willow, though reluctant, helps Mia to push past her fears. Having figured out what Willow had done for Mia, Quinton, a very hot guy from school asks Willow for help with sleepwalking issues. Again, Mia's not really sure if she should try to help. Her mother was the real hypnotist, after all, and has only just moved into the realm of therapeutic hypnosis, but Willow caves and studies her mom's books to know what she's doing.
Unable to help herself and totally frustrated with her unrequited feelings for her best friend, Max, Willow secretly hypnotizes Quinton to not only stop sleepwalking, but also become her boyfriend. Her uber-sensitive, caring, treat her like the goddess she is...boyfriend. Which, of course, totally backfires and leads to all kinds of high-jinks and worsening situations with Max, who not only doesn't like her relationship with Quinton, but also keeps telling her she shouldn't be doing any hypnosis.
Willow's voice (often in internal dialogue mode) sparkles throughout this funny and touching book. Even as she is totally unsure of herself, she works to make things work, to sound at least reasonably intelligent, and to keep from hurting anyone's feelings. She was a character that I totally got. Her pining for Max felt so realistic...I can remember having a crush just like that when I was younger!
The difficulties that Willow had with Quinton made me laugh out loud, even as I was cringing in embarrassment right alongside Willow. All girls want a little romance, but too much easily becomes smothering and poor, hypnotized Quinton went even a step beyond that to crazy!
While dealing with her new friends at school, Willow is also dealing with trying to reconcile her family. When they moved to Vegas nine years before, it was because Willow's mother and grandmother had a huge fight. Now, Willow's grandfather has had a stroke and they've come home to be closer to their family, but her mother and grandmother still can't get along. Once again, I totally related to Willow's struggle to please every member of her family while still wanting everyone to just get along and accept one another.
Touching and funny, poignant and thought-provoking, Jabaley's written a real winner. I can't wait now to go back and read her other novel, Lipstick Apology.
Thanks to Jennifer Jabaley's publisher, I am lucky enough to give away one copy of Crush Control! If you think you'd like to read it, please leave a comment with your name, email address, and a comment about hypnotism before Fri, July 8th. On Saturday, July 9th, I will randomly choose one winner and contact them to get their mailing address (limited to US/Canada per the publisher - sorry!).
Full disclosure: Review copy received from publisher for blog tour
Monday, July 4, 2011
I finally got the chance to see Sucker Punch now that it's out on DVD. I watched with my husband (who hated it) and my sister (who liked it, too) and I really enjoyed it. First off, the soundtrack is amazing! I'm always amazed how much music can affet everything. It was the perfect blend of melancholy, mixed with hard rock to pump up the action sequences.
The basic storyline was sad, but the dream sequences were exciting and full of girl-power moments, which I absolutely love. The special effects were awesome and those sequences were very steampunk-y, which rocked.
I loved the way that they were able to layer the different realities of the movie. To give the girls a mental escape, a place that they had power, even when they were really helpless. I also loved the realization and decision that Babydoll made at the end of the movie.
I thought it was very well done. I can see how some people (including my husband) would hate it, though. It's not a movie for everybody.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
by Stephanie Burgis
The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, book one
Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she's inherited her mother's magical talents, and despite Stepmama's stern objections, she's determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa's intended fiance, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat's magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat's reckless heroism will be tested to the upmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true love? (description from Amazon.com)
I love the storyline of this book. Kat discovers that she has inherited her mother's magic. Not just the "hedgewitch" magic that her sister, Angeline, embraces, but also the stronger - once in a generation - Guardian magic. It was interesting to see how the different magics played off one another and to see Kat embrace her new talents.
Kat and her sisters, Angeline, the one who secretly practices magic, and Elissa, whose notion of propriety won't even allow her to discuss magic, have such a great and realistic relationship. They bicker, they challenge one another, but they also stand together against all threats. As they each find their place, I cannot wait to see how they find one another in the next book, Renegade Magic.
In fact, I thoroughly look forward to seeing Kat do more magic, learn about the other mysterious Guardians, and begin to move in society in the next book! I'm hoping it will take place in London, but with the great Golden Hall as a meeting place for Guardians, Kat could be stuck out in the country still. We'll have to wait and see...
Kat is a spunky heroine that I cannot wait to see more of ASAP.
How can you not love a story that ends with...
"I was twelve years of age when I cut my hair short, became a highwayman, and captured husbands for both of my sisters."
2011 Debut Author Challenge title
From the Library:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
On My Nook:
Heartless by Gail Carriger
The Witches of East End by Melissa De La Cruz
*Thanks to Book it Forward ARC tours*
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
Divergent by Veronica Roth
*Thanks to AudioFile Magazine for sending these on audio!*
The End of Time by P.W. Catanese
The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty
*Thanks to SLJ for sending these on audio!*
Nightspell by Leah Cypess
(Couldn't pass this up! I was in the little bookstore at Grand Central Terminal in NYC on Tuesday with my Mom, getting her a book for her birthday, when I start perusing the YA shelves...I passed up Hourglass, though it was almost painful, and was about to leave when I pulled this one off the shelf. IT'S SIGNED! So, of course I picked it up to add to my collection. I loved this book! You can read my review here.)
Friday, July 1, 2011
by Shelley Workinger
Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they develop "super-abilities", while at the same time forging new friendships, finding love and unearthing a conspiracy. (description from Amazon.com)
Clio finds out that she was part of a genetic experiment, but no one really knows what effect the manipulation may have had on all the teens in the group. She, and a bunch of other similarly afftected teens come together to figure things out. Clio, who has moved around a lot because of her mom's job, has never really made any lifelong friends.
Things change when she arrives at the "camp." Clio meets Bliss, a girl who she immediately clicks with, a fun loving semi-pervy guy named Garrett, a sometimes cranky, slightly OCD girl named Miranda, and a guy...oh, yes, a hot, smart, and sweet guy named Jack. Clio, a fountain of awesome snarkiness, occasionally loses her ability to speak around Jack, but still manages to be the glue that holds the whole group together...even when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.
As Clio and Miranda learn they can disappear, Bliss finds she can turn herself into a human sparkler, and Garrett is an amazing athlete/superhero/gymnist, only Jack seems to lack a special talent. The more the teens figure out, though, the more they realize that there is someone out there who seems to know just a little more than they do... The teens band together to investigate and discover that not only do they make a great team, one that can really rely on each other, but that when all's said and done they have no desire to lose their newfound group.
This was a super-fast and fun read. I loved Clio's voice. I loved the group dynamic and watching Clio draw the others into her circle. The teens all played really well off of each other and Clio always felt amazingly real to me. She's a girl I would love to hang out with. It was also really cool to see their powers develop, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book, now that they know what they can do...
Book two, Settling, actually comes out on this Monday, July 4th and I cannot wait to get it. I read a little preview and it is slightly more steamy and totally intriguing.
If you want to learn more, you can go to the Solid series Facebook page, here. I suggest you check it out!
Full disclosure: Review copy received from author.
by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires, book four
Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals-and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are...tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.
Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society-a world full of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands... (description from Amazon.com)
I love this series and Chloe Neill never disappoints. Her writing is just the right amount of snarky and steamy. Merit is one of my favorite kick-butt heroines and yes, I'll even give you that Ethan is one HAWT master.
I can't say too much because this is the fourth book in the series and it's hard not to get spoilery all over the place. I will say that I love "Mallocakes" and want to eat some immediately if they are real (Are they real, Chloe?? Don't hold out on us...) and that I loved Merit and Mallory's relationship in this book. I loved watching the steamy flirtation between Ethan and Merit. I loved the action, the deception, the betrayals, and the vampire politics.
AND THEN CHLOE DROPPED THE BOMB. Let me just say when you finish this book if you are not picking your jaw up off the floor, you didn't really read it!! Whoa. That's all I can say WHOA. Chloe Neill says to trust her, though, so I'm going to try. I'm super curious, though, to see where things are going in the upcoming, Drink Deep!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I have no idea if any of you remember, but last year I wrote a romantic comedy novel. Well, the first draft anyway. :P Since then, I have been trying to revise the bejeesus out of it, because though I love the story, with the way the publishing market is today, I know realistically that my book doesn't yet have a chance. It's missing that spark that makes someone remember the book long after they've read it...the one that makes them ask, "Ooh! Did so and so write any other books?"
So. I've been plugging away, reading lots of books and blogs by professional writers to glean as many tips and tricks as I can to improve my writing craft. But, I've also been blogging, reviewing, and yes, horrors!, working during our busiest time of year! So, very little has actually been accomplished on draft #2.
And then...Monday morning - EPIPHANY!! Awesomeness. I was in the shower, because of course the only place I get my really great ideas are in the shower or in my car during my hour long commute...two places where I can't immediately write things down, and I finally had the epiphany that my story really needed.
The first draft was missing major conflict. Sure there was character growth, there's humor, there's love, but there's no moment where it all comes on the line. The moment when you know that if it goes wrong, it's going to go WRONG... but now I figured out exactly what I need to do to add my conflict!
*cue happy dance with flailing arms, jumping around, and squeeing!*
SO, this weekend can you guess what I might be working on??
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
"If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.
Generally I avoid books having to do with war like the plague! I always think they will be horribly depressing...and yet, the last few that I have picked up (either because I was reviewing them or they had been recommended so many times I could no longer ignore the book) have been phenomenally well done and were surprisingly uplifting. So, my three recommendations can be found here with others from the other contributors!
The Heart of Glass
by Vivian French
The Five Kingdoms, book three
It’s a fine day for dwarf watching! At least that’s what Gracie Gillypott and Prince Marcus innocently think as they set out, unaware that Princess Marigold has honed her sights on Marcus and plans to follow him to the ends of the earth — fan, frilly petticoats, and all. As for the dwarves, it’s not a fine day at all: they’re overworked and underpaid, rushing to produce extra gold to make crowns for a royal wedding. The Chief of Works has no choice but to send for some trolls to deal with the problem, but they have their own agenda: finding a princess for their lonely king. Throw in the faithful Gubble, a slinking goblin, four chatty bats, and a heart of glass that will give its owner absolute power and you have a hilarious new adventure rife with mistaken identities — and the ever-compelling search for the perfect match. (description from Amazon.com)
This is one of my favorite quick-to-read middle grade adventure series. I love the old crones (think like the three fates) that run the Kingdoms behind the scenes, the intrepid Trueheart Gracie who proves you don't have to be a Princess to be an important girl, the talking bats and wayward troll that are devoted to her, and the Prince who also believes Gracie to be way more fun and interesting than any old princess.
These books make me smile and want to run out and have wild adventures of my own. They remind me again how much I love a good, strong heroine. They remind me how much I love when two characters kind of like each other but won't admit it, even as the first stirrings of love make them awkward around each other...
The combination of friendship, fantasy, and wild adventures will keep me coming back for as long as this series goes on. :)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I loved this book...in fact, you can go back and read my review here. There is nothing better during the summer than a little fin-tastic romance. *sigh*
I was lucky enough to actually meet Tera Lynn Childs in person last night at the Otis Library in Norwich, CT. My friend, Jen, from Yabooknerd, is the Teen Librarian there and she did a wonderful job hosting. (I have more pictures to post later...) For now, I will just say that Tera is as sweet and funny as her books. :)
by Neal Shusterman
Skinjacker Trilogy, book three
While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a fur-jacker—a skin jacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins, and has his own agenda. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth. (description from Amazon.com)
Without getting all spoilery...
What an epic conclusion to this trilogy. If you haven't already picked up the first book, Everlost, GO NOW and get it! These books take place in the purgatory-like in between afterlife that children go to when they aren't quite ready to make it to "where they are heading."
Neal Shusterman's conceptualization of this afterlife and the whole process that children go through to get to their "ultimate destination" is phenominally well done. Through their landing in Everlost, he is able to explore issues of self-identity (it's a place where you become what you remember the most about your self), inner strength (again mind over matter), life and death, morality (skinjacking allows some kids to inhabit living bodies and what they do with those bodies can have major consequences...), love, and tyranny.
Full of adventure, amazing feats, moments that made me cry, others that made me laugh...these three books are beautifully done. This was another series that ended PERFECTLY. There was nothing I would change. Neal Shusterman wrapped things up in just the right way... *sigh*
Definitely worth a GOLD STAR!
I repeat, if you haven't tried this series yet, go now and at least try the first book. You will not be sorry!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Secrets of Tamarind
by Nadia Aguiar
It’s been four years since Maya, Simon, and Penny Nelson left the lost island of Tamarind. For Maya, the island is a nearly forgotten part of her childhood; for Penny, it’s a secret place she can’t remember, but longs to see; and for Simon, it’s an adventure waiting to happen. An evil group called the Red Coral Project is lurking around the Nelson’s home in Bermuda, and the children discover that the project has moved into Tamarind, and are desiccating it to ruin. Only the Nelson’s can save the island.
In Tamarind, there is the mystery of the magical mineral ophalla that Red Coral is greedily mining, their old pirate ship, the Pamela Jane, and the secret of their friend Helix’s parentage. This time, it is up to Simon to put the clues together, and save his sisters from the island and the nefarious Red Coral Project—and defeat Red Coral before the magnificent island is put to ruin. (description from Amazon.com)
I really enjoyed this middle grade adventure. I kind of wish that I had read the first book in the series, The Lost Island of Tamarind (I will probably go back and read it at some point), not because I didn't understand what was happening (this takes place four years later, so it's separated into reminiscences rather than directly affecting the events of this book) but because the writing is so good that I want to visit this world again!
Aguiar describes a lush and magical island. This series is sort of Peter Pan meets Lost. The island contains wonderous creatures, interesting people, and sights that just make me want to jump in with my camera in tow. Add to that mix a really devoted and adventurous family of kids that are continuously able to save the day...you've got a winner!
This book was just what I needed as a fantasy reader who had read one to many paranormal romances recently. This brought me right back to what I had loved about reading fantasy a few years ago. Pure adventure. Pure magic. Pure smarts and courage and devoted friends.
Definitely worth reading!!
Full disclosure: ARC received to review for SLJ
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. (description from Amazon.com)
What an interesting new version of the Greek myth about Persephone and Hades! I love the backstory that though they were married, they were not happy and when Persephone made her unhappiness known, Hades honored her feelings. Hades, or Henry here, was really a great character.
Kate was very believable, too. She is brave and kind. She loves her mother...she is devoted to her to the point that she is willing to spend six months with a man she doesn't know to save her. I loved watching her change as she spends time in the mansion.
Speaking of the mansion, I loved the lush Southern setting, too. Aimee Carter has a way with description...the outfits, the mansion, the grounds, I just want to go and visit. I would be happy to spend six months there!
My favorite part of the book, though, was definitely trying to figure out which characters were actually gods and goddesses from Greek mythology. I had a ton of fun picking out clues and then was happy to see a "glossary" of the gods/goddesses at the end so I could see if I was right.
I cannot wait to read the second book, Goddess Interrupted!
2011 Debut Author Challenge
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!
From the Library:
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich